cholla

noun
chol·la | \ˈchȯi-yə \

Definition of cholla 

: any of numerous shrubby opuntias chiefly of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico that have needlelike spines partly enclosed in a papery sheath and cylindrical joints

called also cholla cactus

Illustration of cholla

Illustration of cholla

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Did You Know?

A shrubby cactus chiefly of the southwestern United States and Mexico, a cholla has cylindrical joints and needlelike spines partly enclosed in a papery sheath. Chollas vary greatly in size and have small flowers that are sometimes yellow-green and inconspicuous, but usually of more striking colors. One cholla, the desert Christmas cactus, bears bright red fruits through the winter. Living plants serve as food for desert animals. Cholla wood, a hollow cylinder with regularly spaced holes, is used for fuel and decorative novelties. Some cholla fruit is edible.

Examples of cholla in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Made with foraged desert juniper, the magenta flowers of the walking stick cholla cactus, osha root, locally farmed Cascade hops, and white sage, the gin conveys cucumber, dill, and earthy flavors. Sunset, "6 Botanical Gins We’re Loving Right Now," 22 Jan. 2018 The trail is wide and plush with saguaros, cholla, ocotillo, creosote, yucca and granite boulders. Sonja Haller, azcentral, "Ultimate Scottsdale, Arizona, bucket list: Top 25 things to do," 9 Feb. 2015 But a good overview starts at the Waddell Trail with its cholla, saguaro and paloverde. Sonja Haller, azcentral, "Ultimate Arizona bucket list: 15 things to do in Surprise," 16 Feb. 2015 The cholla fruit had some semblance of moisture, but lacked the leaves’ nutrients. Alex Devoid, azcentral, "Back from the brink, the Sonoran pronghorn now roam an increasingly political landscape," 27 Mar. 2018 Conservationists see its acres of creosote bush and cholla cactus as a rare habitat for tortoises, pronghorn antelope and an elusive variety of mule deer. Louis Sahagun, latimes.com, "By ordering new land-use plan, Trump could spark a fight in California deserts," 16 Mar. 2018 That might have been OK, except the rock was covered with cholla cactus spines. Marla Jo Fisher, Orange County Register, "Marla Jo Fisher: I might drown in a kayak soon," 21 Mar. 2017 Bighorn sheep amble past fields of cholla cactuses on the coral-colored hills that lead down from Oatman to Topock. Mark Johanson, chicagotribune.com, "Still kicking: Route 66's glory days live on along colorful stretch of Arizona," 20 June 2017 As the sun dips, the sky blazes orange over the supernatural vista of gnarled Joshua trees and spiky cholla cactuses. Norma Meyer, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Sun-baked bizarro worlds on Mojave Desert road trip," 14 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cholla.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cholla

1846, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cholla

Mexican Spanish, from Spanish, head

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Time Traveler for cholla

The first known use of cholla was in 1846

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More from Merriam-Webster on cholla

See words that rhyme with cholla

Spanish Central: Translation of cholla

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cholla

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